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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am still not completely sure of the difference.

Anyway, what I wanted to put out there and believe me I am looking for both opinions and facts.

I've heard some comments from both sides of the fence during my years in the business.

I think its a great thing to try to get acredidated or certified because it makes the department better. Meaning that, as an officer or above, it really helps that someone has already put a plan together that can guide me. I've been where I had to make decisions based on nothing more than what I had at the time for information. It would have been really helpful, especially in an emergency to have a grasp on what someone (who had time to think it out) came up with.

I am looking to make policy to make life miserable. I am looking to make the job as comprehensible as possible.

My firt department had an old policy manual(1 for all). Another chief came in and tossed that out and gave us one that was a mix of different policies from different places which wasn't very good. Now I am at a department that will allow me to work on the 30 policies that do exist and try to make sense of them as well as create more (policies that will answer some unanswered questions). I am in no way trying to come up with policies for the sake of filling a book. However, I've learned that to get accredidated a department needs a lot of SOPs.

Anyway, I was wondering even if my current department never gets recognized by some award (not really my goal), does it matter. Is having a good policy manual better than none at all or always flying by the seat of your pants...

Please let me know your thoughts. Right now I am on the threshold of what could be a project that will take some time (possibly years) but right now feel excited and motivated to do it. I don' tknow how long that will last.


If you mean accreditation from CALEA, it's the biggest scam going. It's incredibly expensive, time-consuming, and in the end does positively nothing except inflate the chief's ego and put ugly stickers on your cruisers.

CALEA really stands for;


Subscribing Member
583 Posts
The purpose of accredidation is to transfer liability from the police department and municipality to the individual officers. Basically, CALEA puts in more ridiculous policies than any reasonable person could ever remember or follow (up to 1400+ pages of SOPs). Then, when anything goes wrong, the PD and city say "he didn't follow the SOP so we wash our hands of it." Then the officer is left holding the bag.

Accredidation is great for supervisors, cities and insurance companies, and terrible for front line officers.

Retired Fed, Active Special
8,890 Posts
On the other hand...

If you work for a (cough) non-traditional agency. the administration and the community you serve (cough) might actually look at you differently.

Did I ever tell the story of how Massasoit was about 94% complete towards certification and then along came a...oh ferget it!

Bruce is kinda-sorta-right in a bottom-line kinda way. for the expenditure, theres not a lot of net return. In your case however, remember that the agency can be nailed for NOT implementing or following their policies that grew out of the Accreditation Process. Any individual officer is at risk whether he follows policy or not, that's why we have Union Superheroes like Bruce in the first place...

1,952 Posts
The difference between the two in MA is the amount of standards. there is about 151 for certification and about 300 for accreditation. National accreditation is even more.
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